The Mojave Solar Project has been online and fully operational since December, but today, a grand opening ceremony celebrates this massive achievement. The plant uses advanced parabolic trough technology that has made the 280 MegaWatt plant one of the most innovative projects in the country and the second-largest plant of its kind in the world. Abengoa, owner of the Mojave Solar Project, is hosting a celebration today to honor the impressive scientific advances and hard work that made this project what it is.

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The plant uses the desert’s solar thermal energy and then generates steam in solar steam generators. This expands through a steam turbine generator to produce electrical power from twin, independently operable solar fields, each feeding a 125 MW power island. The plant is expected to generate 617,000 MWh of power annually, enough power for more than 88,000 households and to prevent the emission of over 430 kilotons of carbon dioxide a year, according to the U.S. Government. Pacific Gas & Electric has also agreed to a purchase plan in order to utilize this energy. Defined as a concentrated solar power project, Abengoa also owns the Solana Generating Station in Arizona.

Related: First 24 Hour Solar Farm Solana Launches in the United States

During the ceremony, guests will receive a brief history of the project and its benefits to the surrounding communities, tour the plant, and hear from VIP guests such as California Air Resources Board Chairman, Mary D. Nichols, Executive Director of the DOE Loan Programs Office, Peter W. Davidson, and Senior Vice President for Energy Procurement at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Fong Wan. The party kicks off at this morning in California and marks a truly impressive step in reducing the United States’ carbon footprint.


Images via Abengoa